New York City’s New Mandatory Construction Training Requirements and its Impact on Owners, Workers and the Defense Bar
On September 27, 2017 New York City enacted new legislation in response to continuing construction site accidents. New York City’s Local Law Int. No. 1447-C amended certain provisions of the Administrative Code of the City of New York and the 2014 New York City Building Code to impose construction site safety training requirements in excess of the training requirements currently required under federal and state law. The ideal of the legislation is to decrease, if not prevent, worksite accidents by ensuing that construction site workers, particularly those whose employers do not typically cover such training costs (such as day laborers and non-union shops), obtain essential safety training.
Under the legislation, by March 1, 2018 the City of New York will develop a program to provide equal access to construction site safety training (SST) required by newly created 2014 NYC Building Code Chapter 33 Section 3321(“Section 3321”). Section 3321 will provide that in addition to any other applicable city, state or federal law or rule, each permit holder at a building site for which a construction superintendent, site safety manager or site safety coordinator is required, shall, beginning March 1, 2018, and until the day before the SST second compliance date (tentatively December 1, 2018), ensure that each construction or demolition worker employed or otherwise engaged at such site by the permit holder or performing subcontracted work for or on behalf of such permit holder has successfully completed (i) an OSHA 10-hour class, (ii) an OSHA 30-hour class or (iii) a 100-hour training program. Between the second compliance date and the full compliance date (five months after the second compliance date but no later than September 1, 2020), permit holders must ensure that each worker on a work site has a SST card- full, limited or temporary.
The consequences of Section 3321 for a permit holder and others responsible for compliance therewith are numerous. Initially, no permit for construction or demolition work for which training is required under Section 3321 will issue or renew absent certification that all workers who will be working under such permit will have the requisite training throughout the duration of the permit. In addition to other penalties or remedies provided by law or rule, upon determining that a worker at a building site is not in compliance with Section 3321, a violation will issue to the owner of such site, the permit holder and the employer of such person. The violation shall not be deemed corrected until the owner, the owner’s representative or permit holder, or the employer shall pay, either directly or indirectly, for the costs of such worker to obtain the required training or will otherwise arrange for such worker to receive such training at no cost to such worker. A minimum civil penalty of no less than $5,000 for a violation of the SST requirements shall apply.
Moving forward, permit holders and others charged with Section 3221 compliance should not overlook the SST training received by an injured worker to establish his comparative negligence, recalcitrance, or to otherwise support that such injured worker, in taking action inconsistent with the SST training received, was the “sole proximate cause” of his accident and resultant injuries.
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